Since mid-November, Journal Broadcast Group’s Springfield, MO stations have been building a public service campaign to bolster local consumer confidence. Titled “Think Positive,” the 60-second PSAs are designed to balance negative national economic news with examples of growth and continued success throughout the Ozark business market.
The campaign took shape last October. “It happened as we, as a nation, were going through the downward trend. We were all wondering what was happening to the financial market, the real estate market, and the stock market, and wondering how did our 401(k) become a 201(k),” explained Rex Hansen, vice president and general manager, Journal Broadcast Group – Springfield Operations. “We were swimming in a sea of bad news and as I talked with customers I realized there was real fear in the marketplace. We decided we had to take a leadership position in this and help people realize there are some very positive things happening.”
With a market made almost entirely of small businesses, “there are no singular companies that control the economy here,” Hansen added. That meant not all the news was doom and gloom, even though it’s what local consumers and business leaders kept hearing as Wall Street fallouts and bailouts continued. “They needed some positive messages.”
The weekly Think Positive service segments air 15 times daily on all five of the Journal Broadcast Group stations in the Springfield market: Today’s KTTS 94.7, News Talk KSGF 1260 AM and 104.1 FM, Power 96.5 (KSPW-FM) and Z106.7 (KZRQ-FM).
With narration by Hansen and commentary by business and community leaders, the spots identify what’s going well in the community and focus on the strength of the Ozark economy. “What we’re trying to hammer home every time is be smart about your finances, do business with people you know and trust, and think positive,” he said. “Be aware nationally, but focus locally.”
The spots have run since mid-October, and Hansen doesn’t see them ending any time soon. “It’s practicing what we preach as broadcasters. We run them across all our stations, through all day parts, week after week. The frequency is starting to build momentum. We’re getting positive feedback from listeners thanking us for trying to send messages of encouragement.”
While he doesn’t think accentuating the positive will completely eliminate the negative, Hansen acknowledged his hope that the messages will change how people view the current economic climate. While they should be aware nationally, they should focus locally where the market is surviving and, in many cases, thriving.
“We often report news that can be negative in tone. We have to take a leadership role as broadcasters to say here are some things you can take solace in as well,” he said. “You can’t sugarcoat it, but there are good things happening. If you focus on those things, people respond.”
Listen to samples of the 60-second PSAs